Desire for marriage and life satisfaction among unmarried heterosexual adults

Patricia Frazier, Nancy Arikian, Sonja Benson, Ann Losoff, Steven Maurer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine factors that may underlie current marriage trends. A community sample of 217 unmarried adults aged over 30 years was surveyed regarding their reasons for being single, desire for marriage and life satisfaction. Results suggest, first, that unmarried adults attribute being single to both barriers and choices. Second, men desire marriage more than do women and the never-married want to marry more than the divorced. Divorced women have the least desire for marriage. Divorced individuals also report more life satisfaction than never-married individuals. Mediational analyses suggest that men have more desire for marriage than do women because they have less social support and that never-married individuals have more desire for marriage and lower life satisfaction than divorced individuals because they have lower self-esteem. Implications for counseling and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1996


  • Communication values
  • Personal relationships
  • Sex differences


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